For 364 days a year, all that matters is what kind of music YOU like. But on Sunday, when the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards show comes on, it is the opinion of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States that counts.
We crunched the numbers, evaluated the contenders and channeled the academy's decision-making process to figure out who will win and who will be left sitting there in the audience, trying to hide their shame, rage and disappointment. Here's what we came up with for the Best Hard Rock Performance category. Good news! This year, the category is 100% Jethro Tull free!:
The Breakdown: “Black Ice” was AC/DC’s first album in eight years, and their comeback was a roaring success, with the album debuting at #1 on charts in 29 different countries. “War Machine” is a good song, much better than lead single “Rock And Roll Train,” and I could easily see Angus Young and company taking the award home. But I think they get upset, and I’ll explain why in just a moment. VERDICT: Loser.
”Check My Brain,” by Alice In Chains
The Breakdown: This is the performance that deserves to win. It’s the best song of the five, and Alice in Chains, like AC/DC, made a successful comeback this year. They had been gone for 14 years and lost lead singer Layne Staley to heroin addiction in the process. And yet, from this song, it’s clear Alice in Chains has never lost sight of who they are as a group. It’s a brilliant achievement, which is exactly why it won’t win. VERDICT: Loser
”What I’ve Done,” by Linkin Park
The Breakdown: Ugh. Weren’t we finished with these guys? Can’t we place them and Evanescence in some sort of deep sea submersible and disconnect the engine? VERDICT: Loser. Speaking of scourges…
”Burn It To The Ground,” by Nickelback
The Breakdown: GROWL! Can you feel Nickelback bringing the HEAT?! This song is the number one choice among those who like their hard rock to sound like country music. Already this year, two dozen naval base fights have been scored to this track. VERDICT: Loser
”The Unforgiven III,” by Metallica
The Breakdown: “Death Magnetic” was Metallica’s best album in two decades, but this was easily the worst song off of it, and the album wasn’t even released this year. I hate it when singles from old albums get nominated. THE SONG ISN’T NEW. Anyway, as a rule, songs should never have sequels, especially Threequels. What would “Layla III” have sounded like? It would have sounded like garbage. Nevertheless, Grammy voters have bent over backwards for 20 years to make up for snubbing Metallica in favor of Jethro Tull, and they’ll continue to do so. If this doesn’t win, look for AC/DC to triumph. Verdict: WINNER!